Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Confession Tuesday

This will be short. I'm in San Diego visiting my daughter. She has a really nice place. Maude, she's so neat (I'm feeling guilty thinking about my desk, my closet, my bedroom). She picks me up in a newer model car, a gas guzzler and like a mother,I critisize how big and expensive the car is instead of complimenting her for having the credit and job to buy a car like this. Smack upside the head for that one. I made a mental note to compliment her often and to keep my opinions about her life at a minimum. My daughter misses her mommy and clearly wants her to be impressed.

She treated me to a manicure and pedicure (I couldn't stop laughing while the young woman scrubbed my feet. It tickled and I realized I either never had a pedicure or it's been so long I've forgotten). The spa treatment was nice. I couldn't stop thinking Rick was spending too much money. I don't need these things.

She cooked me dinner last night. Very rich meal. She made stuffed salmon and beans and rice. These are foods I used to make for her (I don't recall this combination though) and I know she really wanted me to have a special dinner. I told her it's really good. What I was feeling was I wish she wouldn't try so hard to please me. I'm her mother and I love her. I'm very proud of her. I also worry about her because like most of us- she gets some things right but...

Back to me. I'm glad I'm spending time with my daughter so why can't I relax? Because those other things. I did not survive my twenties because I was mature and bright. I think they call it grace. I can't relax because I'm her mother. My daughter is 23. I wish she had had a better model mom.

I see how we're alike and how we're different. I see two women grasping at strings we remember binding us together. We didn't have the best friends mother daughter relationship. We had the other one. As adults, we're trying to create a space where fantasy and memories smoothe over old wounds. It's not a matter of lack of love, it's trying to figure out what our love is suppose look like.

A friend wrote about her relationship with her mom, and I could relate except I'm the mom. I don't know the details and they aren't necessary. Motherhood and parenting, these aren't my strengths. I work with young girls because I've been where they are. I've been the daughter and the mother. And I know the monsters bleed. They are as scared as much as they are scary. Somebody turn the light on.


...deb said...

"It's not a matter of lack of love, it's trying to figure out what our love is suppose look like."

That's the core, I think. How to accept what it is and be comfortable with it. (You won't find the answer from me, though, obviously!!)

The tension of finding those shreds of threads is so familiar.

And you do need those extravagances, the pedicure. Really, you do: it helps your feet, it helps the economy. (I'm serious! :-}) And allowing your daughter to spend way too much money on you & make a rich dinner (even if it is a funny combo) is something she needs to do, for you, for her. I remember doing stuff like that for my mom in my early 20s, too. Showing how adult I was. Yeah, I couldn't afford it. I should have saved the money, but it made me proud to be able to do for her.

No mother is a model mother. It just can't be. The most important thing is that you love her. That always comes through. It does.

xxoo to you. And her. And the pair of you, together.

Lenore said...

My feet are sooo ticklish. No pedis for me.

January said...

Happy Birthday! And how wonderful to be treated to a mani/pedi by your daughter.

Clearly, she's happy and wouldn't want any other mother but you. So enjoy her and enjoy yourself on the left coast.

bunnygirl said...

Your daughter sounds like she appreciates the sacrifices you made for her. You were probably a better mom than you realize. Enjoy being indulged. I'm sure you earned it.

christine said...

What a heartfelt, amazing essay. Your daughter sounds so sweet and precious, it makes me want to cry.

How absolutely wonderful that she wants to see to your wellbeing.

Hang onto that love and the space you're making. What a gift.

You must have done a lot of things right if she wants to be good to you when you visit.

(When you said "Cali" I thought you meant Cali, Cloumbia!)

Rob Kistner said...

Greetings – I invite you to stop by Image & Verse and say hello.

chicklegirl said...

Susan, I loved this post! I wrote about the mom/daughter relationship in my confession, too, so I'm feeling everything you had to say. Loved how you're so real and honest about what you're feeling.

It's so complicated to try and redraw the boundaries of the relationship when a daughter reaches adulthood, so be patient with her and gentle with yourself.

Claudia said...

Thanks for sharing this. Mother/daughter relationships can be so difficult - I had a pretty awful one with my own Mom. But something really changed when I became a mother myself. I have started to see her with softer eyes and with more understanding and sympathy for just how freakin' hard this job is. I also have a better appreciation for some of the hard choices that she made - even those that weren't in my best interest. All of this is to say that I hope you won't be so hard on yourself. The very fact that you are concerned, that you are trying to make things better, means more than you know!